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Day 154: ‘Thank You, Mask Man’

Without explaining, Evelyn has apologized for taking wing while I was being dragged down the stairs. “Call me crazy if it makes you feel better,” she writes. “I had my reasons, even if they aren’t any more rational than yours were. At least Bruno got you out.”

It’s the other readers who are slamming me (though the site’s hits keep coming) because I was snippy about the president’s oration and because I’ve stopped commenting on general pandemic news.

THE OLD MASKED HERO: YOU TALKIN’ TO ME?What am I supposed to say about the blackouts and rioting in Los Angeles? I already got burned blathering about stuff out there. I trust the media are exaggerating. Even the LAPD couldn’t shoot that many people without making waves.

New Yorkers typically shun mob violence. We revolt as individuals.

So I’ll focus on what I see and hear in my Village in Manhattan. I’ll try to get out more—no point in wasting the evil emailer’s time and efforts.

I sure hope never to see the innards of the schools that are being turned into clinics and triage centers. The only draw I envision is that warehoused patients can be fed and kept warm when the weather turns. Not least, they can be given Relenza. Which might help.

I forced myself out the door today, strolled briskly around the block. My sortie proved that things look better than they sound but smell a lot worse than they look. Few people on the street want to hurt anyone, much less kill. The war zone atmosphere is more a matter of grim filth and shortages, once you get used to plywood façades on your local shops. Kids must have busted every window they could reach through the security gates they couldn’t rip down.

People are sullen. Vendors and consumers contemplate one another with suspicion. Stores seem empty—some because the consumers took everything, others because shopkeepers want special inducements to show their wares.

There’s no good food out there, unless you’re in the clutches of the LES DIY. The thought prompted me to stop in at Ric’s to sample the day’s offering—a toothsome lasagna.

Praying For Cash in Washington

The gang was in high spirits, denouncing the government in a muffled chorus as they whipped up food behind masks. The latest conspiracy theory is that the government wants to crack down on community groups that aren’t affiliated with religious institutions via the DHS’s RAISE. The churches and synagogues that worked with the LES DIY in Round One have bonded with the Feds, who are reimbursing the religious institutions for their um, good works—as I now discover FEMA did after Katrina. Even God has a paid gig in Washington!

Charity, of course, begins at home. With the churches now offering competitive meal services, our colorful Village boasts contending cantinas for the needy. It’s safe to say the meals and conversation excel at Ric’s. Traffic is down, though.

I tried to take the opportunity to thank Anna for sending Bruno to save me. Would she confess? She blushed and mumbled that Bruno had volunteered because they were all worried about me. It was nice to see some color on her translucent flesh. (Don’t you think, Ric?)

Later I caught her staring at me with those heavenly orbs, streaked with sorrow. Too quickly, they ran away, never to return. Again I found myself wishing she were my addled adversary, Evelyn. Then I realized they all stare at me—I’m that friendly right-wing nut who loathes the DHS and RAISE no less than they do.

Even my daily one-way communication was fruitful when I got home. She-who-is-neither-reliable-nor-Anna buttered me up with a link in response to my provision of children’s masks to the LES DIY. It’s an animation of an old Lenny Bruce riff called Thank You Mask Man. Watch it!

I don’t know much about Bruce, who overdosed in the 1960s after being arrested and persecuted for uttering ‘obscenities’ we now hear on cable every night. (Dustin Hoffman played him in a hit movie.)

The cartoon is very funny. Made five years after Bruce died, but using his voice (thanks Google, for the show and background info), it’s quite primitive. And eerily familiar. I’d bet a box of masks that the guys behind South Park loved it when they were just potheads with impossible dreams.

Thank You Mask Man starts with locals on the range marveling at the Lone Ranger’s altruism, then questioning it, resenting it, and finally forcing him to explain how they might reward him. His solution is controversial.

I’m not above accepting gratuities. I love that Evelyn sent me this ‘toon. I’m a proud Mask Man in a pitiless, flat world. Thank You, Mad Mailer.

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